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WebmasterWorld showing up in my Related Links

Oh, no. :)

     
8:14 am on May 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I've just noticed that if I do a search for related:www.myownsite.com, 4 out of the 11 "related links" to my own site returned by Google are from WebmasterWorld or SEW.

Knowing that:

1. I have no links from my own site to WebmasterWorld;
2. I used to have a (now removed) link to my site in my WebmasterWorld profile, but:
3. my WebmasterWorld profile has always had a nice

<META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOINDEX">
tag.

...I must then argue that Googlebot followed the link in my profile.

So, while the

NOINDEX
tag prevents Google from counting the incoming link from the profile page for PR calculation, it clearly does not prevent Google from following that link and establishing a theme relationship between WebmasterWorld and the member's site.

Now, I was wondering whether it would be possible to add a permanent

NOFOLLOW
argument to the above tag, in order to prevent... well, let's call it "theme distortion". Members above 100 posts could then simply have the
NOINDEX
argument removed (as a sort of "PR bonus" for their contibutions to the forums).

What do you say, Brett?

(I do understand that SEO folks linking to their own SEO company sites from their WebmasterWorld profiles may not be too happy about this, though). ;)

8:34 am on May 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

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If you have the toolbar installed doesn't it use that information to work out related links?
8:46 am on May 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

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If you have the toolbar installed doesn't it use that information to work out related links?

bateman_ap,

that could be quite compromising information if Google would use and show it literally or undiscriminatory.

Giacomo,

interesting find - it could be the "no-follow" tag.

9:31 am on May 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Pages often appear as each others "related" links because many other pages link to both of them. The most prominent cause for this might be that both are listed in the same category of the ODP. Dunno if that is the case for your site and wmw, but that's where I'd look first.
10:47 am on May 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

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bird: my site is listed under "Shopping: Food: Ethnic and Regional: European: Italian" and "World: Italiano: Acquisti: Alimentari" in the ODP, so I don't think that is the case with WmW. ;)
12:19 pm on May 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

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> I was wondering whether it would be
> possible to add a permanent NOFOLLOW argument

Members have complete control over whether they list their site in a profile.

There is nothing specific about "nofollow" relating to OFFSITE links. I believe NO FOLLOW is valid for insite links only. After that, it is up to the crawler to figure out what to do what it will with any found links.

"no index" only refers to the se's inclusion within it's search results. That says nothing about what it can do with any data it downloads.

12:40 pm on May 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Google lists a lot of URLs that it hasn't visited.

In these cases, Googlebot sees the link and includes it in the link database without following the link. I haven't seen anything to suggest that Google can't include a link from a page with NOFOLLOW in the robots meta tag.

10:23 pm on May 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

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ciml: then I must conclude that although my profile page was not included in Google's regular index (because of the
<META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOINDEX">
tag it had until a few days ago), the links it contained were taken into account for theme assessment (or "related links" extraction, whatever)... Right?
10:59 am on May 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

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It seems like it. If it's just "NOINDEX" without "NOFOLLOW" then I see no reason for an engine not to include the links in their index.

Back to the Community issue, I'm sure that plenty of members would be perfectly happy to have their profile site associated with WebmasterWorld.